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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 16, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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americans to die inç afghanist is wrong. it's over. american support is fine, but war? no. it's not even support. it is rational. good night. the gulf oil leak on day 87, success. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in new york for chris matthews. the oil has stopped. we learned this afternoon that the containment well has completely stopped, at least for now, any oil from leaking into the gulf. the valves have been closed and for the first time in 87 days no oil is escaping. it's potentially a huge development. we'll get the latest in just a moment. we'll also look into the bp and lockerbie connection. did bp strike a deal to get the
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only man convicted of the lockerbie bombing released? at least four united states senators think so. plus, do unemployment benefits make people lazy? that's the case being made by a lot of republicans who say jobless prefer cashing government checks to going out and looking for work. we'll hear from both sides of that issue. and then there's this from karl rove in today's "wall street journal". he said the biggest mistake he made in the white house was not defending president bush on charges he lied to get into the war. in fact, he insists it's the democrats that have been doing most of the lying. . i'll tell you what think of the black panthers intimidating people into voting for barack obama. to me it makes it no sense. let's begin with the bp spill in the gulf of mexico. bob, how did they get it to
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stop? >> good afternoon, michael. they cloegsed the last valve, t choke valve in, just about an hour ago. i was actually watching the feed when the announcement was made, and the feed is obviously still flowing at that point, but it did stop. i just saw a good shot of the entire stack from the top of the old blowout preventer to the top of the new capping stack, and it is indeed shut in. >> we just showed the feed right now and people can see it at home. it looks aç heck of a lot different than it has looked the last 87 days. whatever the measure that finally caused the oil to stop, is it something that could have been taken advantage of sooner? >> clearly, they could have put this stack on weeks ago had it been prepared or had they been ready to do that. this is something that's made of components that are basically off the shelf, not real custom things. they're deepwater -- not like you buy at the hardware store, but they're common to the
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deepwater, and this could have been done much earlier, i believe, than it was. >> in layman's terms so a guy like me can follow along, how did they get it to stop? >> you have to be careful with these big wells because if you just slam a valve shut, it's like a car slamming into a wall. you have to gradually slow the flow down and pinch it off. if you go real quickly, you stand a bigger chance of actually rupturing something. the well bore is severely damaged from the cap kill, and this blowout preventer has been through a lot of wear and tear, so they gradually closed it in. i noticed they were putting caps on the valves for an extended shutting period. >> what's the prognosis of the oil stopping its flow? >> what's going to be important here is what the build-up curve looks like. they're going to be looking for a continuous build to a relatively high pressure. if it stops at a low pressure, that means they've got a leak. if it builds to a high pressure
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and breaks, that means they've damaged something. >> is the drilling, bob, of a relief well, because that's always been plan b, although it looked like it was about to become plan a, is the drilling of a relief well still necessary? >> absolutely. the only way to actually kill this well, michael, is at the source. so once they get finished with this procedure, which we've all been confused exactly what they're doing here, they're going to have to resume drilling that well and actually kill it at the bottom. >> was this expected? it comes to me as a bit of a surprise that i'm able to break this news, which is great for all of us that this oil has stopped. is it something you anticipated when you woke up this morning that this would be the day? >> we knew they were going to try to shut it in. this whole procedure is a ç surprise, what they announced last sunday at their technical briefing. so we've all been scrambling to figure out what they're doing here. i'm a little surprised it happened so quickly, but it looks like so far everything is holding. >> what does it mean, bob c
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cavanaugh, to plug this well? >> they'll have to kill it eventually. >> what does that mean? >> they'll drill that relief well into the primary well, pump heavy mud to make sure it's stopped and then cement that. then they'll probably have to drill another well at a different location into this same reservoir. obviously they know the dangers now so they can manage it much better and drill it after the moratorium is lifted. >> again, in terms that i can follow, the manner in which they stop the oil from flowing today does not preclude in any way their ability to have at that oil at some future date? >> from a different well. they'll never be able to produce this well. >> how far away are we talk sng. >> it won't have to be far. they could probably use that second relief well as a kicking off place to get to this new reservoir, but i don't expect them to do that very quickly. i suspect they will be very quickly with this reservoir.
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>> what have we learned from the total volume of oil still buried at this particular location? >> there are likely millions of barrels. in these kinds of formations in the deep water, it takes a number of wells to actually drain from these reservoirs. there would have to be a number of drills around and pro dusd from a common point. >> bottom line, the oil is stopped, at least for now, maybe permanently. you make it sound like the closing of a valve that brought it all about and possibly something that could have been done sooner. >> it's the closing of five valves, but the important thing is this stack they put on top that allowed them to close in. i have to tell you, i'm still concerned about weakness in that old stack and i'm concerned about weakness in the tubulars in the casing inside the well itself. so they're not nearly out of the woods yet. >> understood. hey, thank you, bob cavnar, appreciate yourç time. >> nice talking to you. >> did the company make a deal
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to get the convicted terrorist in the lockerbie bombing released in exchange for terrorists in libya? michael is a columnist in the new york daily news. michael, thank you for being here. coincidentally, on the very day this fellow was released, i was interviewing president obama and was in the position to be able to be the first to ask him how he felt about that, how our government felt about it. give a listen. >> today the scots released the lockerbie bomber. he's got terminal cancer. there has been a perceived lack of justice. >> we have been in contact with the scottish government indicating that we objected to this. we thought it was a mistake. we are now in contact with the libyan government and want to make sure that if, in fact, this transfer has taken place that he's not welcomed back in some way but instead should be under
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house arrest. we've also, obviously, been in contact with the family of the pan am victims and indicated to them that we don't think this was appropriate. >> so, michael mccullough, what's the back story of the brit perspective. what do we know of bp's role in all of this? >> he used the word mistake there, and the british authorities are using that very same word today. they say it was a mistake. however, they have a very legal argument for why this is all proper, and even though it was a mistake, everyone did everything completely properly and there's nothing that can be done about it now. but the back story is that in 2007, the libyans and bp were negotiating a lease off the coast of libya, and it's a $900 million deal. they signed the deal. it did not go through, however, until after mr. mcgrawey was
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released in 2009, and it raises a lot of questions just on the timing, but there are also a lot of revelations that bp did in fact lobby for a prison transfer agreement with the british authorities, and it gets very complicated. but a doctor that the libyans hired is one of the first people to say that mr. mcgrawey onlyç had three months to live. the british government said this guy did not have any role in the decision to free the man on compassionate medical grounds, but nevertheless, he's been out there and saying the guy could live another ten years, though unlikely. >> it seems like the bp story, if you buy it, is one of, well, we lobbied for there to be such an exchange, but not necessarily for this guy. is that a fair characterization, as far as you're concerned? >> that is a fair characterization, although i have heard jack straw, the justice secretary at the time,
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did raise with scottish authorities specifically mr. mcgrawey. did bp ask him to do that? i don't know, but the man's name was lobbied around behind the scenes quite a bit, and he was a name on the potential list of names for exchange. >> we hope who they were going to check out was the bionic man. what do we know about him now in terms of his prognosis? >> we know it's 11 months later which is considerably more than three, and he's still alive. i've heard some conflicting reports out of libya where they say he's still sick, but you also hear he's living in luxury, and of course, when the president was talking about the welcome home he got, it was a hero's welcome. so i don't think he's doing too badly. certainly much better than a scottish prison. >> any reason to believe the obama administration would have been in the loop relative to the bp role in negotiations,
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whatever it was, back at the time of al mcgrawey's release? >> i have seen no evidence to suggest that whatsoever. the only thing you might even want to consider is that it was in the united states and the english interests who bring libya into the fold, but i have heard no suggestion that the state department was in any sort of negotiations involved with that. >> quick question, if i may, relative to options. what are the options other than hand wringing about this guy who is a mass killer is living the life of luxury in libya? >> well, the options are what our four senators from the new york/new jersey area is doing is raising a big stink, and as the british ambassador to the u.s. said today, there is a system of justice inç scotland that they respect and there is nothing they can do about what they call a license for compassionate release. >> thank you, michael. >> thank you. much more on this massive
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day of the gulf oil spill. the oil is holding for now.wo this is "hard ball" only on msnbc. see, expedia lets me mix and match airlines. so i can take one airline out... and another home. so with more flight options, i can find the combination that gets me there and back quickest. with a little help from expedia, my friends will think i can be everywhere at once. where you book matters. expedia. ♪ [ male announcer ] he's sweet, even with 1/3 less sugar than soda. kool-aid delivering more smiles per gallon. even with 1/3 less sugar than soda. discover customers are getting 5% cashback bonus at the pump... and at many of the places their summer plans take them.
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it pays to get more. it pays to discover. we have a new crop of poll numbers on an all personality generic valid question. that's the one that asks whether you vote for a republican or a democrat in this year's congressional election. a new time poll has the democrats up by one. that's the same margin as the newest gallup pole. but the "washington post" poll has the republicans up four. and the new bloomberg poll has the republicans up eight. these are numbers that will make the republicans very confident heading into november. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball."
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the oil spill has been stopped but will it hold? please tell us what you know. >> i only know what you know, and that is that we all hope that this2is going to be a success. but this is a little bit like a bone marrow transplant operation right now. we're in the early stages. we don't know if it's going to completely take. there is a well a pipe, that is thousands of feet long that now has intense pressure being applied to it. we know it's fragile, we know it's been traumatized and we won't know for some time whether or not, in fact, it can contain all of the oil under these much higher pressures that are now being applied to it. we all hope it is, but at this point, we're all praying that this is the end of the nightmare. >> given your understanding of the methodology that, as you say, we all hope was successful, is it something, congressman,
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that could have been done prior to the 87th day? >> well, obviously, if bp had a real plan in place to deal with this spill back 87 days ago, yes, there could have been. but, obviously, they had no plan to deal with the spill at this depth any more than any other oil company did. so, unfortunately, bp has been forced to make it up all along. we've reached a stage here where, in coordination with the federal government and top scientists in america, we've reached the stage where hopefully this cap will work and will be able to withstand these pressures. we're not going to know the answer for some time, but at the end of the day, bp, unfortunately, has had to take all this time because bp did not stand for being prepared. >> i know you were a catalyst in bringing into all of our living rooms that film footage, making sure we had access to that camera. what do you think the political
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ramifications of that were? in other words, did having that imagery available to so many americans on a daily basis 24/7 have some blowback effect on the administration? >> well, i think the first impact was it forced bp to either stop lying or being grossly incompetent that the spill was not 1,000 barrels per day or 5,000 barrels per day. it made it very obvious from that point on that trusting bp to make decisions alone was really not well placed. and so i think the spill cam had the impact of bringing in top scientists, taking awayç discretion from bp, having the obama administration and its toch sitop scientists and other come in to help construct this plan which hopefully will work. i think if we are successful, we all have our fingers crossed
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that we will be successful, that the obama administration will have been viewed as playing a very constructive role in ensuring that bp finally shut off this well. >> what's the prognosis assuming that we have shut it down for offshore drilling, particularly in the gulf? >> well, i think that we first have to ensure that if we are going to drill in ultra deep waters that it is ultra safe and that any response to an accident is ultra fast. so the first thing that will have to happen is that we pass legislation, and that's the goal that we have in the congress right now, and in the next several weeks, i think that you will see that path moving through the house and the senate. but until we put in those safety measures, i think that people are going to be very apprehensive. i think one other thing, by the way, that is going to happen is that this will now give us an opportunity to measure the full amount of oil that was going out into the gulf of mexico.
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if it is 60,000 barrels per day times $4300 per barrel per day, which is defined in the event of gross negligence, that could wind up being 6 to $8 billion fined on bp and we'll finally be able to determine what the ultimate total damage was to the gulf of mexico. >> thank you very much, congressman ed markey. we know you're in demand. >> glad to be here. thank you. eugene robertson is a pulitzer prize-winning columnist for the "washington post" and a political analyst. speak to me about the fallout on the oil if, in fact t has come to a close on day 87? >> it's obviously a good thing for the obama administration politically to get that thing shut off. they have to be looking at that in the white house as a beautiful picture, maybe the most beautiful picture they've seen in a while of the underwater cam of no plume of oil coming out.
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they've waited a long time to see that. let's just step outside the political calculation for oneç second. it's a wonderful day for the environment and for the gulf of mexico and for all those people who have been out of work, and maybe we can begin to get this episode -- it's not over yet, but maybe we can -- maybe it's the end of the beginning, at least. >> the color combo that i'm looking at on the monitor is a lot more pleasant to view than what we've seen for the last two months or so. what toll, eugene, do you think that it took on the president, assuming now that it comes to a close? what damage has he sustained, if you care to put it in a katrina-like comparison, feel free to do so. >> i'm not huge on the katrina comparison, but certainly, the white house could have been quicker and more proactive in getting on top of this incident on a, on showing that it was on
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top of this incident, and i think -- i hope that's something the white house has learned. you know, it's like if you have surgery and postoperative the nurses say, be sure to take your pain medication. you want to get on top of the pain rather than have the pain build and then it's hard to knock down again. that's kind of what happened in terms of the political pain from the oil spill, and if the administration, i think, had gotten out on day one or two or three or five or even ten with a bigger show, i think the political damage -- and it still hasn't been calculated -- but whatever damage there was would have been less. >> you think those races that were competitive in the mid-term elections, each of the candidates, this is going to be one of those staples you're going to be asked in terms of are you supportive of offshore
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drilling? what thoughts do you have on that issue, eugene, moving forward? >> it's a complicated issue, but i think in the first place drill, baby, drill can't be a republican slogan and people are going to be suspicious ofç offshore drilling after what they've seen. by the same token, you and i both know that offshore oil drilling is really important to the economy, especially of the gulf coast. and it is part of president obama's overall vision of the energy future of the united states. so i also think the position to take is not going to be let's ban all offshore drilling. i think the safe position is going to be, yes, let's have a moratorium of some duration. >> you would think at a minimum people would come to the conclusion that if depth was the problem in terms of fixing it, then you shouldn't be drilling at that depth.
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>> exactly. i think the depth is going to be one variable that's going to depend -- you know, is going to determine what positions people take. now, does this give real impetus to the president's initiative to try to get an energy bill through and do people pay attention, pay more attention when politicians talk about the need -- >> gene, i've got to wrap, but i appreciate your time. what's a republican gubernatorial candidate doing waiting tables in minnesota? we'll explain. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ engines revving ] [ tires screech ] [ engine revving ] [ male announcer ] before you take it on your road trip... we take it on ours. [ children laughing ] now during the summer event, get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz like the 2010 c-class, an iihs top safety pick,
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[ thomas ] i thought we were. [ male announcer ] call today or go to esurance.com. >> welcome back to "hardball." now to the side show. first major damage control out in minnesota.
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you see that guy waiting tables? governor in minnesota. he suggested last week that minnesota should join most other states in allowing businesses to pay workers who receive tips, like waiters and waitresses, less than the minimum wage. he justified it claiming some of the workers end up making over $100,000. in an effort to dial back on the comments, he spent the day as a waiter at a local restaurant and posted the video to his campaign site. he also held a forum last night with restaurant servers, but he was forced to end the meeting early after an attendee dumped a bag of 2,000 pennies in front of him saying that's my tip for you. that's what i call putting in your two cents. >> moving over to nevada. a political indictment from beyond the grave. charlotte mccourt, age 84, passed away recently. she was a one-time avid harry reid supporter.
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notice i said a one-time avid supporter. her family printed the following obituary in the las vegas review-journal. we believe that mom would say she was mortified to have taken a large role in the election of harry reid to the u.s. congress. let the record show charlotte was displeased with his work. please, in lieu of flowers, vote for another more worthy candidate. tough stuff. time for tonight's big number. a quirky loophole in the tax cuts means there's no estate tax in the year 2010. this year it's at zero per cent. what does that mean in real terms? consider this. because billion area yankees owner george steinbrenner died in 2010, how much will his heirs save in taxes? >> $500 million. a big savings for the steinbrenner family. $500 million. tonight's incredible big number.
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up next, karl rove says his biggest regret from his years in the bush white house, his failure to refute the charges that president bush lied to take us to war in iraq. he says his failure to do so hurt the country. but what about going to the war on false pretenses? we're get into that next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.ç ♪
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hey, everyone, i'm lynn berry and here's what's happening. bp says it will keep that new cap on the oil spill for at least 48 hours. the relief well should provide a more permanent fix. a sweeping overhaul of
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banking regulations. it cuts down on lending practices. goldman sachs has reached a settlement with the securities and exchange commission. they will pay 50 $50 on million. the relenless heat is causing the worst drought in russia of the century. lindsay lohan checked herself into rehab in california a week before she was to serve her sentence for violating parole. now back to "hardball." we're back. just about 100 days until the mid-term election. former bush white house adviser karl rove turning heads with a blast from the past. here's rove in today's "wall street journal." the headline reads my biggest mistake in the white house.
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he wrote saying the commander-in-chief intentionally lied america into war is the most serious accusation towards the president. at the time, we in the bush house discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. that was wrong. and my mistake. michael isacoff is nbc news investigative journalist. jonathan martin, senior political writer. your book, page 80, talks about how on september 11, there's donald rumsfeld, secretary rumsfeld says the pentagon is already planning an invasion of iraq, which would seem to support the view that facts weren't going to get in the way. >> it would. look. what karl rove wrote today is no new news. he made the same remarks before.
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the fact is it's past and it doesn't square with reality. the serious charge was not that president bush lied or the white house lied, it was that they embellished, manipulated shards of information and made the body of evidence much more serious than it was. and all this is pretty much confirmed by a series of reports the senate intelligence committee report, the 9/11 commission, all of which showed that some of the more exaggerated and sensational allegations that saddam had an ongoing nuclear program to lead to the specter of the mushroom cloud, that he had ties to al-qaeda, that he was training al-qaeda operatives in chemical ask biological weapons. all of that was said by the president and other senior officials in the run-up to the vote on the war, and all of
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which was not just wrong but contradicted by serious or certainly not supported by the intelligence that was available at the time. so that's the serious -- that's the serious charge against the bush administration in the run-up to the war in iraq, çan you know, rove's argument doesn't cricket ontradict it at. >> i, in fact, believe they massaged data, i believed in spin. i never paralleled the l word, lie. one of the things that held me back was colin powell. you never could convince me that speaking before the security council that he would knowingly mislead people he was seeking to convince. how do you see this issue? >> no, i don't think there was intention by colin powell or
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even karl rove to lie to the intelligence, but there is a rap port they've developed over the years that to say they were not fully developed, not thought through, et cetera, et cetera. but i'm struck as to why this is a big story. this is in the book. he's sort of taking this now to his column in the paper. i'm just not sure why this is relevant. >> let me ask you the question. is this about legacy or is this about mid-term elections? >> i'm not sure how this would have much of an impact on the mid-term elections with the economy, the oil spill and the war in afghanistan. i'm not sure how this would be relevant. >> it could be it's just summer and he needed a column. who knows. i want to show you the drudge report headline before the oil
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leak was plugged. gift to the dems: bush to release book for october. here's the cover of the book. "decision points." do you think his decision-making memoir is going to come out, it would seem, right before election, but the leaks will stop right before the vote? >> not as much as if the elections were held a year or a year and a half ago. the point is, i think, the legacy of the bush administration is mainly for the historians right now. i don't think voters are going to be having that front and center asç they decide, you kn, who to vote for this fall, and to a great extent, i think that the obama folks for the first year used to love to blame all their problems on president bush. and even into this year they did. i think we're hearing less of
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that for the obvious reason that, you know, president obama has been in office for a year and a half and that only goes so far. and at some point, people perceive you are the guy in charge, you've been in charge for a year and a half, and you've got to take ownership of all these central issues, starting with the economy but also afghanistan and iraq as well. >> jonathan martin, quick comment from you as to how that will play into the mid-term election. >> sure. rfd ran against hoover for years, there were hooverisms for years during the depression. times have changed, people's attention spans are so short that i think it's different in that folks are focused much more on the here and now, and much of this will seem like ancient history, comparably. i think it will be jobs in the economy and much more what's happening right now with the democrats that are in office, even with the republicans that are in office, it will be about
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george w. bush and karl rove and sort of the mid-2000s, if you will. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. are unemployment benefits a disincentive to finding a job? that's an argument republicans are making these days as they vote on those extension of benefits, but is it true? straight ahead. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. hey mom, thanks for this. ♪ mmmm...this is insanely good. thank you! you should come over more often. [ female announcer ] give the cool whip.
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get the love. senator arlen specter didn't support elena kagan for solicitor general. he plans to back her for the united states supreme court. in usa today specter says kagan did just enough to win his vote. her nonanswers were all the more frustrating given her past writings that the hearings were vacuous and lacked substance. he accused justice ruth bader ginsburg of stonewalling, then she did the same thing leaving senators to search for clues on her judicial philosophy. the big question is if she'll
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get more votes than president obama's first nominee, sonia sotomayor 68. "hardball" will be back in one moment. patient: and that's why yellow makes me sad. i think. sarge: that's interesting. you know what makes me sad? you do! maybe we should chug on over to mambie pambie land where maybe we can find some self-confidence for you. ya jackwagon! tissue? crybaby. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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what i'd say to the person who is out of a job right now is we are going to be doing everything we can to kraelt the environment where the private sector can come in and start creating jobs. but until they can find a job, i expect to be held accountable. >> welcome back to "hardball."
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that was the president talking about the hardship in this country. does the benefits keep people from looking for jobs? they're pushing to extend the benefits to the unemployed who will stop receiving benefits this month. christian we will lller at the center for progress. gentlemen, i want you to hear what i consider in my day job to be radio gold. you're about to hear the words of the republican candidate for governor inç my home state. he's tom corbitt. listen to this. >> the jobs are there, but if we continue extending unemployment, i've literally had construction companies tell me i can get
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people to come back to work. they say we'll come back to work when unemployment runs out. >> all i have to do is play that tape, sit back, every telephone line illuminates. people are passionate, they're divided, and they all have explanations for if he's correct or incorrect. who has it right? >> they're both krek. there are lots of firms that are hiring, there are lots of possibilities for people to get jobs, but to do so, many of the people who are unemployed will have to accept a lower wage or a different type of occupation or moving to a different part of a country, doing something not as pleasant or as innumerative as it was before. you're right, they can get jobs, and if they can get unemployment benefits, it would help them get a job faster.
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>> senator john kyle is another one who made a similar pitch. i want you to hear what senator kyle said a couple months ago. >> if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek work. >> i guess my question, christian, for you is, at what point do unemployment benefits, if at all, at what point do they become a deter rent to going out and getting a job? at no point, at 12 months, at 24 months? where would you draw the line? >> clearly at some point they will make a difference, but not in this environment. we have more than 14 million people looking for jobs and there is about five job seekers for every job opening. so there is millions of people who are looking, a lot of people who don't even get unemployment benefits. a lot of people who are looking for jobs and simply can't find them. so i think extending unemployment benefits makes sense, it's a win-win-win ; @r% proposition, it helps the most vulnerable people in this economy, those who are suffering
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the most through this economic hurricane. it will put more money in the private sector, and ultimately protects the private sector that we have. so clearly this is the right policy going forward given how high unemployment is and how many people are looking for jobs and given how many more million have given up looking because they can't find jobs. >> jeffrey, how about the argument that many have advanced saying consumer spending is where we need a boost and by paying unemployment benefits, we'll be putting money in people's pockets who can go out and improve their spending power. do you find that persuasive? >> i think it's a powerful argument. if you only look at half of that, it sounds right. give them more cash, they would go out and buy things than they normally would, but you have to understand where that cash came from. it came from other taxpayers, so those taxpayers have less money
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to spend, so you have to then convince yourself somehow if you get the timing just right, you can con people into spending more right now and not focusing on the fact they'll have to pay higher taxes later? that's not a convincing argument and not one that seems to be supported by the data, so i don't think it's a good argument for unemployment. >> chris, respond quickly. >> unemployment benefit dollars actually create an economic value. there's probably more efficient ways of the government spending money. every dollar you spend creates $1.6. that's better than anything else we know. new york columnist paul krugman wrote, but won't extending unemployment benefits worsen the budget deficit? yes, slightly. but as i and others have said, penny pinching in a severely depressed economy is no way to
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deal with the longç range budg problems. and penny-pinching at the expense of the unemployed is cruel. >> i think it leads to a slightly wrong impression. the amount of benefits is teeny compared to the debt that's going to be due to medicare, medicaid, social security. the long-term problems krugman is referring to are huge, and because they're growing at astronomical rates and unemployment insurance is a very, very teeny part of that. where i think he's a bit misfocused and we've never gotten around to doing the cutting that would reduce the deficit, so if he were really pushing now to start cutting medicare and medicaid, then i would be in total agreement with him, but i don't hear him saying that part. >> christian, at what point does paying unemployment benefits, if at all, impede self-reliance? >> i think clearly once you get to very low unemployment rates,
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it will impede some economic activity, it will be a disincentive. generally since we've stopped extensions in the past of unemployment benefits at much lower unemployment rates -- in the 1980less we stopped it at a rate of 7.2%. we're nowhere near where we were in the past, and i think talking about the unemployment benefits as a disincentive to look for a job is somewhat cynical given how many millions of people are looking for jobs, how few job openings there are, how long people have already struggled and how slow we are in actually creating new jobs and getting the unemployment rate down. >> jeffrey, on the subject of the poor, rand paul, who is in the senate of the great state of kentucky, says it has kaugsd a controversy. let's listen together. >> the poor in our kun are enormously better off than the rest of the world. it doesn't mean we can't do
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better. we have to be proud of our system of capitalism, be proud of our american way. >> did rand paul get it right, jeffrey marlin? >> he got it absolutely right. there are people living on a dollar a day or two dollars a day. the standard of living of people who are regarded as very poor in the u.s. is certainly enormously above the standard of living in many, many parts of the world. that doesn't mean we should have compassion for the poor here, but he's certainly right to suggest some moderation in our perspective to realize being poor in the u.s. is not the same as being poor in india. >> if he said being poor in the united states is better than being poor elsewhere, i don't think there would be a controversy. perhaps i didn't hear him clearly. i think he was saying to be poor in the united states is frankly to be better than anywhere else you would be in the world, which we would all disagree with. >> that was certainly way too strong if that's what he meant. i dinh quite hear it that way, but you may be right. >> men, thank you so much for being here. jeffrey marlin and christian
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we weller, we appreciate your time. >> thank you. i'm going to have some opinions about my home city of philadelphia. he's sweet, even with 1/3 less sugar than soda. kool-aid delivering more smiles per gallon.
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finally, a controversy born in my home town, chris's home town in philadelphiaç on electn day 2008 that is back in the news this month. it's the case of those two new black panthers allegedly intimidating voters, hurling racial ep thets as one bran dished a nightstick outside a polk place. i'm thinking their actions was more about television than turnout. the panthers cannot be tolerated, need to be pr prosecuted. the justice department never should have dropped that case, especially when the defendants ignored the charges altogether. their choice of a polling location, a public housing complex in a largely african-american part of the city tells me they wanted to cause a scene for the cameras more than anything else. in november of 2008, there were
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1,535 registered voters in the district in which this particular polling place is located. only 84 of them were republicans. in other words, this wasn't exactly an area where an african-american running for president would need much assistance, especially considering the near unanimity where black voters nationwide cast their ballots for barack obama. there's more. in 2000 the district registered just eight votes for george w. bush compared to 382 for al gore. maybe it was that explosive gop growth from eight votes to 24 votes that caused these knuckleheads to arrive in time for 2008 when barack obama ended up winning the district 596 to 13. frankly, if they were set on voter intimidation, the panthers should have sought out voters who actually needed intimidating. maybe some battleground in the bell weather suburbs.
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